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Arthur O'Connor (1810–1885)

Our obituary to-day contains the name of Mr. Arthur O'Connor, the hospitable squire of Connorville, who died yesterday, aged 75 years. The deceased was the only surviving son of the late Mr. Roderick O'Connor, one of the early settlers, and who assisted to build up the colony, formerly Inspector of Roads, and who was descended from one of the most ancient Irish families. Mr. Arthur O'Connor was the beau-ideal of a country gentleman, and a kinder hearted man never breathed. He was universally respected by all classes, and as many will miss the worthy proprietor of Connorville, for in the Lake River district Arthur O'Connor and hospitality were synonymous terms, while the poor have lost in him a good friend. Unlike his father, who was a great politician and a member of the old Legislative Council, he had no taste for the "vanities and vexations" of political life, and although often pressed to come forward for Ringwood and other constituencies where he could have been returned time after time without opposition, he always declined. Notwithstanding his distaste for political life, Mr. O'Connor, who was placed on the Commission of the Peace in 1853, was, however, foremost in all matters relating to the welfare of the district, and the way he fulfilled his duties as a landowner was an example to many of our large land proprietors. If there were more landowners of the type of Arthur O'Connor we would hear little of the cry of "busting up the large estates." Mr. O'Connor was about our largest sheep owner, and he also bred a great number of cattle; the Connorville pastures are noted for the prime beef they send yearly to market. Mr. O'Connor was also a very large landed proprietor, owned several estates, the principal of which are Connorville and Benham. It may not be generally known that the deceased owned some land in the vicinity of the First Basin, including that part known as Lob's Hole-a very favourite spot. Mr. O'Connor has lately been receiving a nominal rent for the land, and when he was granted the lease he considerately caused to be inserted a proviso that the public should have free access to the land as usual. With a view to preserving one of the most favourite picnicing spots in all its wild and romantic grandeur, his Worship the Mayor, with praiseworthy forethought, initiated a correspondence some time ago with that object. The value of the land may not be great, but the town could ill afford to lose the land, and if possible therefore it should be secured to the burgesses, and the land might well be christened O'Connor Park. The deceased gentleman took a great interest in racing, and was a warm and liberal supporter of what William IV termed "the favourite pastime of a free people," and as the representatives of Connorville ran as straight a course as their owner pursued through life, it need hardly be said that the triumphs of the pink and black were always eagerly welcomed. It would take up too much space to enumerate all the horses owned by the Connorville Squire, but one of the earliest was Jule-Cum-Sneezer, by Besborough, out of old Whizgig, who astonished the natives when he defeated Speed and Vision for the Longford Leger of 1852, and he followed up this performance by appropriating the Launceston Leger, with Paddy Gill in the saddle on each occasion. Of the Connorville champions of late years Cyclops was the most noticeable one, and he appropriated no end of hurdle races. Unlike most of the other Connorville winners, the son of Velocity was not a home-bred one. Mr. O'Connor was a good judge of a horse and of cattle and sheep, and also a liberal supporter of all kinds of sport, in addition to racing, especially hunting. Mr. O'Connor has had a lingering and painful illness, and for some time past his eldest son, Mr. Roderick O'Connor, has transacted his father's business. The deceased married a daughter of the late Mr. J. G. Parker, of Parknook, and sister of Messrs. Charles, Alfred, and Thomas Parker, and leaves a family of two sons - Roderick, who manages Connorville, and Frank, who resides at Benham near Avoca - and three daughters, two of whom are married, Mrs. H. R. Falkiner and Mrs. W. C. Grubb. The funeral will take place on Friday afternoon at the Lake River.

Original publication

Citation details

'O'Connor, Arthur (1810–1885)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 May 2024.

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